Flexibility could be helpful in weathering a stormy economy.
That’s the news from a new study by the Families and Work Institute (FWI), The Impact of the Recession on Employers, showing that 81 percent of U.S. employers are maintaining and 13 percent are increasing the flexibility they offer during the recession.
A Guide For Work
The study is cited in a new book called the 2009 Guide to Bold New Ideas for Making Work Work, also from FWI. The annual guide features 260 employers selected for the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility. It sorts the featured employers by geography and by innovative practice, allowing readers to search for organizations in the area or find examples of best practices from around the nation.
Among the examples featured are a semiconductor company that avoided layoffs by scheduling a temporary factory shutdown, a customer contact center that offered an emergency relief fund for employees facing financial catastrophe, and an international accounting and consulting firm that covered 100 percent of requested emergency and sick leave time by enabling employees to donate their unused time to one another.
Ellen Galinsky, president of the institute-and principal editor of the guide-says that leading employers are being open with employees about the financial state of their organizations and asking for their suggestions about cost containment.
“In many ways, the guide has helped increasing numbers of companies and organizations to improve their workplaces so that they work for the employer and the employees,” she says. The guide highlights unique workplace programs such as sabbaticals, leaves of absence, compressed workweeks, flextime, volunteerism and strategies to monitor overwork.
To view a searchable online edition of the guide and to find other FWI studies and practical tips for managing work and family life, visit http://www.familiesandwork.org or call (212) 465-2044.